Mapping Ideological Opinions in China

Authors: Tu Lan*, University of New Hampshire, Danqing Xiao, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Shengjun Zhu, Peking University
Topics: Political Geography, China, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: ideological opinions, electoral geography, survey, China
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Balcony N, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Ideological opinions in our study refer to people’s opinions on contemporary political, economic and sociocultural issues. They play an important role in electoral geography. However, as the sub-discipline continues to wane, there have been few advances recently in the spatial analysis of ideological opinions. Moreover, due to the regional obsession of electoral geographers, most of the past researches focused on case studies in western liberal democracies. As a result, people’s ideological opinions outside Europe and North America have been understudied, since many of these countries in the world are not liberal democracies. Accessing to two large datasets, one collected through an online survey in 2014 and the other through a traditional survey in Chinese colleges in 2017, this research studies the geography of people’s ideological opinions in China. In particular, many of the survey questions directly or indirectly reveal people’s support for the current regime. Therefore, it provides a rare chance to investigate the regime’s popular supports. We also test several theories drawing from electoral geography and political science, and show both similarities (e.g. economic voting) and differences (e.g. cultural vs. political liberalism) between China and western democracies. We argue that as perhaps the most important non-liberal-democracy in the world, people’s ideological opinions in China may shape the trajectory of China’s political reforms and thus have significant impacts to the rest of the world.

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